Using conceptual depth criteria: addressing the challenge of reaching saturation in qualitative research

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Abstract

Saturation remains a problematic concept within the field of qualitative research, particularly with regard to issues of definition and process. This article sets out some of the common problems with saturation and, with reference to one research study, assesses the value of adopting a range of ‘conceptual depth criteria’ to address problems of definition and process when seeking to establish saturation within a grounded theory approach. It is suggested that the criteria can act as a test to measure the progress of the theoretical sampling and thus ascertain the readiness of the research for the final analytical stages and theory building. Moreover, the application of ‘conceptual depth criteria’ provides the researcher with an evaluative framework and a tool for producing a structured evidence base to substantiate choices made during the theoretical sampling process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554
Number of pages17
JournalQualitative Research
Volume17
Issue number5
Early online date14 Dec 2016
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 14 Dec 2016

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